Things PUMA Learned from James Brown Song Titles

Racepoint Global

By Brigid Sweeney, Senior Associate, Agency Marketing & New Business

Who would have thought that key brand learnings from PUMA could be summarized by James Brown’s song titles? Adam Petrick, Global Director of Brand and Marketing at PUMA surely did.

This week’s AdClub CMO Breakfast series was focused on all things PUMA. During the presentation, I had a chance to hear Adam share more on the global growth strategy of the brand and how they plan to position themselves to thrive in both the performance and lifestyle areas of footwear.



The brand itself started with sibling rivalry. In 1924, brothers Adolf and Rudolf Dassler formed the Dassler Brothers Shoe Factory in Germany, however, after WWII, the relationship between Adolf and Rudolf declined. The two split in 1948 forming two separate entities and rival companies to this day: PUMA and Adidas.

The PUMA brand is known for their distinctive blend of style and performance with a history of pretty incredible athletes and characters – some of the brand sponsors have included athletes like Pele, Jesse Owens, Joe Namath and most recently, Usain Bolt.




Even so, Adam is completely transparent. “Everyone knows PUMA, but have low clarity with what they are really about,” Adam says. “Being a lifestyle brand has its own challenges.” The company learnings from Adam’s presentation can be summed up in the following points:


  1. Do Something: It’s okay to make a mistake but if (and when you do) it’s important to DO something about it. Be nimble and ready to change direction.
  2. Focus on Your Essentials: A brand has to have soul – find the soul of your brand.
  3. Experiment, Improve & Refine: It’s better to give something a try than try to be perfect.
  4. Maximize Accountability: Understand that you’re never going to please everybody. You have to maximize accountability.
  5. Consistency = Efficiency: Once you found the right path, stay on it. If it ain’t broke don’t fix it!

My Racepoint colleagues had a strong showing at the CMO breakfast – here are a few of the team’s favorite learnings and key takeaways:

  • “My favorite takeaways were to stay true to your core brand and don’t wait for perfection, get 80% and then keep improving. I also loved the ‘Less Meetings & Emails and more Decisions and Actions’ message.” – Suzy Hill, VP, Media
  • “It was refreshing to hear someone give such an honest assessment of their own brand. He didn’t gloss over the struggles and challenges they’ve faced, so hearing how they overcame those obstacles was very insightful.” – Colleen McCarthy, Account Executive
  • “My favorite quote was when Adam discussed not worrying about other competitors but to worry about whether or not PUMA is doing things their way. I think this message can relate to all aspects of the communications industry. Whether you’re in earned, owned or paid, I believe we have a tendency to keep a sharp eye on our client’s competition. It’s a great reminder that while yes, our client’s competitors may be doing something different, our clients shouldn’t waver in their own identity.”  – Ashley Benisatto, Account Executive

My favorite takeaway from the meeting? Adam’s thoughts on failure: